James Veness and Margaret Cornford

James Veness was born on 12 April 1842 at Hooe. He was the son of James Veness. butcher and Selina Veness formerly Hunnisett (Chapter 5). Selina registered the birth, making her mark (Reg Gen June Qtr 1842 Hailsham 7 341).

At the time of the 1851 census James, aged 8 is listed with the rest of his family at "Late Wrights", Hooe. In addition there is an entry which shows James Veness, aged 9, born Hooe, Sussex visiting Thomas and Hannah Honeysett at the Nursery, Herstmonceux. Selina Honeysett was James' mother and Thomas and Hannah were her parents. I suspect that what has happened is that James' parents included him in the records for Hooe as he normally lived there but when the census was taken he had been staying with his grandparents. 

In 1861 James was boarding at 33 West Street, Hastings with Thomas Pleydell, shoemaker and his family. James, 18 was a butcher. There were two other boarders at the address, Charles Vinall, 22, also a butcher and Tilden Henham, 23 year old collar maker.

On 12 July 1864 James married Margaret Cornford (shown as Mary in the majority of parish registers) at Warbleton Parish Church. James is described as a 22 year old butcher from Hooe, the son of James Veness, butcher. Margaret is a 28 year old servant from Warbleton, daughter of William Cornford, shoemaker. Both parties signed the register. The witnesses were William Sutton and Jane Cornford.

Margaret was born on 1 May 1835, the daughter of William Cornford and Mary Payn. She was baptised on 31 May 1835 at Wadhurst Parish Church (Appendix D) .

James and Margaret had four daughters and one son.

James and Margaret's first child Mary Selina Veness was born on 1 April 1866 and baptised at Hooe Parish Church on 20 May 1866. At the time James and Margaret were living at Diamond Cottage, Hooe and James was a butcher. There is no specific mention of them in the Land Tax Assessments, but this is probably because they were just one occupant of a pair of cottages.

Diamond Cottage, Hooe, now converted to one residence is pictured below. 

Their second child, Jane Veness was born on 26 October 1868 and baptised on 21 December 1868 at Hooe Parish Church.

My line continues in Chapter 12 through James and Margaret's only son, James William Veness who was born on 4 December 1871 and christened on 25 February 1872 at Hooe Parish Church. The family were then living at The Common, Hooe where they had been living when the census was taken on 2 April 1871. Hooe Common refers to area and no specific property name is mentioned.

James and Margaret had two more daughters 

  • Edith Maria Veness. Born 27 December 1873. Baptised 22 February 1874 at Hooe Parish Church 
  • Bertha Blanche Veness . Born 6 July 1875. Baptised 29 August 1875 at Hooe Parish Church. James is described as a shopkeeper from Hooe. 

Whilst James is described as a butcher on his marriage certificate, at the time of the 1871 and 1881 census' he is described as a grocer, and in the 1878 "Post Office Directory" and in the 1882 "Sussex Trade Directory" as a baker/grocer. He is also described as a grocer by his father at the time he made his will on 28 November 1872.

James seemed to have achieved at least some degree of status within the community, for at a Vestry meeting on 29 March 1877, he and Mr. R Pilbeam were appointed assessors for the ensuing year (East Sussex County Record Office PAR 382/4/2). The role undertaken by the assessor is not clear, the poor rate was normally assessed by the overseer, but he may have delegated the job in this case. 

At the time of the 1881 census the family were still living at Hooe Common. The entry reads

  • James Veness, head, aged 38, grocer, born Hooe
  • Margaret Veness, wife, aged 43, born Wadhurst
  • Mary Veness, daughter, aged 15, no occupation, born Hooe
  • Jane Veness, daughter, aged 12, scholar, born Hooe
  • William Veness, son, aged 9, scholar, born Hooe
  • Edith Veness, daughter, aged 7, scholar, born Hooe
  • Bertha Veness, daughter, aged 5, scholar, born Hooe

In the 1891 and 1895 "Kelly's Directory of Sussex" Jas. Veness is shown as a butcher/farmer at Sandhill Farm (now Sandhall Farm) Jas. was then a common abbreviation for the name James and it is known that James and Margaret lived there for part of their married life.

Sandhill Farm was so named because it had a sand hill from which sand was obtained for building purposes. It was then owned by Sir James Duke, Baronet. He was knighted in 1849 and succeeded his father as Baronet in 1873. The family crest, a Demi-Gryphon (griffin) winged with a peacocks feather in its beak supporting a sword, can still be seen on the farmhouse porch.

James Veness was first shown in the Land Tax Assessments for Hooe as renting land from Sir James Duke in 1890 and earlier assessments confirm the property as Sandhill Farm (East Sussex County Record Office PAR 382/5/2).

Earlier Land Tax Assessments also show a James Veness as both proprietor and occupier of firstly a house and garden (with Robert Pilbeam 1867-1884), and then a garden plot (1885), a house and garden (1886-1888), and a house and shop (1889-1893). Although the proprietor is generally the owner of the property, long-term lessees and copyholders may have appeared instead. These entries could relate to either James or his father, but as said in Chapter 5 by 1871 it is believed that James senior had moved away. In addition from 1890 when James first rented land from Sir James Duke, his house, shop and lands shown as being occupied by H Simmons, suggesting the entries relate to the same family.

So by 1891 the family were living at Sandhill Farm. The entry includes, James Veness aged 48, farmer and butcher, his wife Margaret aged 54, daughters Jane aged 22, Edith aged 17 and Bertha aged 15 and son William Veness aged 19, a butcher. Also included are Rebena Veness, granddaughter, aged 4, born Sussex and Mary Roberts, a married woman aged 50 and described as a 'sister'. It is not known where Mary Selina was at the time.

James Veness died aged 56 on 13 September 1898 at The Common, Hooe. Aged 56 he is described as a master butcher. The cause of death is given as 'mortus coutis exhaustion'. The informant was his daughter Edith Maria Veness who was still living at home at the time. He was buried on 16 September 1898 at Hooe

In his will dated 19 May 1870 James writes

"This is the last will and testament of me James Veness of the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex. I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses and testamentary expenses be paid and satisfied by my executor and executrix hereinafter named as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.

I give devise and bequeath all and every my household furniture linen and wearing apparel , books, china, pictures, shop stores and fittings and freehold house, garden and appurtenances hereto belonging, known and situate opposite the Red Lion Inn in the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex together with my horse and cart also all and every sum or sums of money which may be found in my house or be about my person or due to me at the time of my decease and also all my stock funds and securities and all and every other very estate and effects whatsoever and whosesoever both real and personal whether in possession or reversion remainder or expectancy unto my beloved wife Margaret Veness of the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex aforesaid for her absolute use and for the benefit, maintenance, education and clothing of my beloved children namely Mary Selina and Jane Veness till such a time as they become of age then the freehold property, household furniture books, china, horse, cart and all and every other my estate funds, etc shall be sold and equally divided between my beloved wife Margaret and my beloved children Mary Selina and Jane Veness.

Provided also should my herein after named executor and executrix being fully convinced that the that sale of the property before or any part thereof as the case may be then they the hereinafter named executor and executrix with the consent of both the contracting parties shall cause to be sold any or either part of my property before devised the the proceeds of any such sale or sales to be entirely used for the benefit of my beloved wife Margaret and Mary Selina and Jane Veness my beloved children .

And further should either of the before mentioned children marry and die before my before mentioned wife Margaret Veness then shall the proportionate part of such parties viz Mary Selina or Jane Veness be equally divide between the legitimate children of either party as the case may be.

And further ,I express and wish it to be perfectly understood that my executor and executrix shall have full power to act both consenting for the advantage of my wife Margaret and my children Mary Selina and Jane Veness to do for them the best they possible can.

And I nominate constitute and appoint James Veness, grocer, of Dorset Place in the parish of St Michaels in the borough of Hastings and the county of Sussex to be my executor and Margaret Veness of the parish of Hooe in the county of Sussex to be my executrix of this my last will and hereby revoking all former or other Wills and Testament by me at anytime heretofore made.

I declare this to be my last Will and Testament. In witness I the said James Veness have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand the nineteenth day of May in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy".

The witnesses were William Cornford of Hooe and William John Syms of 19 Wellington Road, Silver Hill, St Leonards who I take to be the solicitors.

Probate was granted to Margaret Veness, the surviving executor on 7 November 1898. The gross value of the estate was £605.3s 5d. The net value was £152.17s 11d (approx. £67,495 in 2007- Measuringworth.com)

Interestingly James made this will in 1870 before the birth of son James or daughters Edith and Bertha and seemingly never changed it. The will also seems to divide the estate between his widow Mary and two elder children in Mary's lifetime. Did James own the property opposite the Red Lion? Was this Victoria Villas? If so, when was this sold and how were the proceeds distributed? If in accordance with James' will, then what would the younger children, including James have thought?

It appears that James's widow continued with the business. In "Kelly's Directory" of 1899 for Hooe, Mrs Margaret Veness is listed as a butcher. Miss Edith Veness is listed a shopkeeper.

The 1901 census shows Margaret, a widow aged 64, born Wadhurst living at The Common, Hooe and still running a "butchers and general shop". She is described as an 'employer'. Her daughter, Bertha B Veness, aged 25, still single and Rebecca O S Veness, her granddaughter aged 14 were living with her. 

Her son James William Veness (Chapter 12) was also living at The Common and was working as a butcher. I assume worker means 'employed' and presumably James was employed by his mother?

"The Bexhill Almanac" from 1901 through to 1905 lists Mrs James Veness and William Veness as butchers and a Miss Veness as running a grocery and general store at Victoria Villas, Hooe. In 1901 the grocery store is being run by Miss Edith Veness and thereafter no Christian name is given. No Veness' are listed in the 1906 or 1907 additions. 

Victoria Villas, believed to be somewhat extended since 1905 is pictured below. 

This old photograph of Denbigh Road, Hooe (taken from the Hooe History Society Website) appears to show Victoria Villa's in the distance to the left of the road nearly opposite the Red Lion. 

It appears likely that at some time Margaret Veness moved away from Hooe. 

Margaret Veness, widow of James Veness, a master butcher died on 1 February 1909 aged 73 at Boreham Street, Wartling. The informant was her sister Miriam A Lewis of The Common, Hooe (Appendix D). Could she have been living with daughter Bertha (see below), but if so, why was she or her husband not the informant? 

Aside from James William Veness who is the subject of Chapter 12, the lives of James and Margaret's children, to the extent known, is detailed below. The photographs and most of the personal recollections below have been provided by Prue Halls who is the great granddaughter of Bertha Blanche Veness.

Mary Selina Veness

James and Margaret's first child Mary Selina Veness was born on 31 March 1866 and baptised at Hooe Parish Church on 20 May 1866. At the time James and Margaret were living at Diamond Cottage, Hooe. 

Mary was also known as Miriam or "Polly", and to Prue she was "Aunt Polly".  

It is unclear where Mary Selina Veness was at the time of the 1891 census. I have searched under the various possible names.  

However by 1891 Mary had given birth to an illegitimate daughter. Rebna Ouida Snow Veness had been born on 15 June 1886 (Reg Gen Sept 1886 Hailsham 2b 98)In 1891 Rebna was living with her grandmother. She was baptised on 18 July 1892, the illegitimate daughter of Mary Selina Veness at Hooe Parish Church. The father was 'unknown'. Mary's occupation is given as a driver. "Aunt Polly" may have had Rebna through a relationship with an artist. He is understood to have provided for Rebna and paid for her to become an pharmacist, although this doesn't appear to be a route she followed. 

In 1901 there is still no trace of Mary Selina but her daughter "Rebecca" , aged 14 was still living with her grandparents.

In 1911 there is again no trace of Mary Selina, but I have been told that "Aunt Polly" served in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corp. in the First World War. She later worked as a housekeeper for the workers in Longleys Department Store in Bexhill. 

I can find no trace of Mary Selina Veness in the 1921 census. 

After her sister Bertha's death (see below), "Aunt Polly"  came to live with her family to look after her niece Bertha K Connolly and her great niece Margaret (see below) who lived with them during the week. 

The 1939 register shows Patrick Connolly and his daughter Bertha K Connolly at Thorn Farm with Miriam Winpley, born 1 April 1864, a widow (although has this been altered?) on "unpaid domestic duties". Although the date is wrong, Prue thought she was born on 1 April and she overstates her age by 2 years, this appears likely to be Mary Selina. 

  • Rebna Ouida Snow Veness

In 1911 Rebina Ouida Snow, aged 24, a clerk in a registry office was visiting her Aunt Bertha (see below). 

In 1921 Rebna appears to have been working as a housemaid at 13, Granville Road, Eastbourne. She understates her age by about seven years!!  

In 1933/1934 electoral register show "Reba" Ouida Veness at The Old Hope Anchor Hotel, Rye.  

In 1939 Rebna Veness was a cook living and presumably working for Rose Maisie Jacobs, hotelier at 3 & 5 Victoria Place, Eastbourne. 

My grandfather recalls Rebna driving for a local doctor (could this tie in with her having lived with her Aunt Bertha - see below?) and having been a little wild!

Rebna Veness of 16 Vale Road, Battle, dairyman's bookkeeper aged 60 died on 20 November 1947 at Hastings Municipal Hospital.

Jane Neve nee Veness

James and Margaret's second child, Jane Veness was baptised on 21 December 1868 at Hooe Parish Church. It seems that she was also known as "Jemima" within the family although I have found no "official" records in that name. 

Jane appears to have lived at home with her parents until 7 June 1892, when she married Charles Arthur Neve, a gentleman aged 28, son of George Neve, miller, at Hooe Parish Church.

The 1901 census shows Jane aged 30 living next door to her mother, Margaret Veness at "The Common", Hooe with her husband Charles Neve, aged 36, a market gardener, born Hooe and their children

  • Charles William James Neve. Born 16 July 1893 in Ashford, Kent. Baptised 27 August 1893 at Hooe, son of Charles Arthur & Jane Neve of Ashford, Kent. Charles was a carriage builder!!
  • George Arthur Irvine Neve. Born 1895 in Hooe (Reg Gen Sept Qtr. 1895 Hailsham 2b 90). Baptised 11 August 1895  at Hooe, son of Charles Arthur & Jane Neve of Hooe. Charles was a grocer!!
  • Sidney Victor Neve. Born 1897 in Hooe (Reg Gen Dec Qtr. 1897 Hailsham 2b 91). Baptised 14 August 1898 at Hooe, son of Charles Arthur and Jane Neve of Hooe. Charles was a roadman!! Sidney Victor Neve may have died in 1916, aged 16 years old (Reg Gen June 1913 Battle 2b 64
  • Margaret May Neve. Born 17 January 1900 in Hooe. Baptised 12 August 1900 at Hooe, daughter of Charles Arthur and Jane Neve of Hooe. Charles was a labourer!!

In 1911 they are living at Manor House Stables, Sea Road, Bexhill. 46 year old Charles is a domestic gardener. Their son George, aged 16 is a domestic under gardener and their son Sidney, aged 14, an errand boy. Their daughter Margaret was still at school. Two further daughters had been born.

  • Theresa Jane Neve. Born 1902 at Hooe (Reg Gen Sept Qtr. 1902 Hailsham 2b 94). Baptised 26 June 1904 in Hooe, daughter of Charles Arthur and Jane Neve of Hooe. Charles was a gardener!! The next entry, on the same day was the baptism of Agnes Charlotte Veness, the daughter of James William and Charlotte Edith Veness, Theresa's cousin (Chapter 12).  
  • Kathleen Neve. Born 1905 at Hooe (Reg Gen Sept Qtr. 1905 Hailsham 2b 90). Baptised 12 June 1907, at St Peters, Bexhill, daughter of Charles & Jane Neve of 7, Camperdown Street, Sidley. Charles was a gardener!!. Kathleen was confirmed in 1921 at St Peter's, Bexhill aged 16 years old.

Jane Neve of 16 Ringwood Road died on 31 May 1918 in Battle, aged 49 years. The cause of death was heart disease and bronchitis. The informant was her widower (Reg Gen June 1918 Battle 2b 61)

In 1921 Charles Arthur Neve, a 56 year old widower was a jobbing gardener working on his own account, living at 22, Ringwood Road, Sidley with daughters Margaret May Neve, aged 21, a ledger clerk at Hudson Brothers Grocers, St Leonards Road, Bexhill on Sea and Kathleen Neve, aged 16 and on "home duties". 

Nothing more is known about daughter Kathleen, but the following is known about the remaining surviving children: 

  • Charles William James Neve & Annie Meditation Wraight

Charles William James Neve married Annie Meditation Wraight in 1915 in Bedford .(Reg Gen Sept 1915 Bedford 3b 862). 

In 1921 Charles William Neve and his wife Annie Meditation Neve were living at 97, Regent Street, Kingswood, Somerset. Charles was a tram conductor, for Bristol Tramway and Carriage Company based in Kingswood. They had a daughter 

  • Diana Irene Wraight Neve. Born 6 August 1920 in Kingswood. Baptised 10 October 1920 at Kingswood. They were living at 76, Regent Street, Kingswood and Charles was a "car conductor". 

Also at the address was Phyliss Lilian Wraight, Annie's sister in law aged 20 and a shorthand typist, and boarder Nellie Heale, aged 21, a car upholster.  

Charles and Annie had another child

  • Anthony C P Neve. Born 1923 in Keynsham. 

In 1939 Charles William and Annie were living at 26 Field Road, Bristol where "William" was a bus driver. 

In 1957 through to 1968, the family were living at 35 Lavender Road, Carshalton. Both their children are listed, although by then they were adults.   

Charles William James Neve of 35 Lavender Road, Carshalton, Surrey died on 24 April 1968

Annie died on 12 February 1978 at 12, Saxon Rise, Bexhill.  

Nothing more is known about their children after 1968. 

  • George Arthur Irvine Neve & Dorothy Agnes Mary Catchpole

In 1921 George Arthur Neve was living with his aunt and uncle Patrick and Bertha Connolly at High Hill, Mount Pleasant, Ninfield Road, Bexhill (see below). He was 26 years old, an out of work painter, 

George A Neve may have married Dorothy Agnes Mary Catchpole in 1931 in East Preston, Sussex. 

George Arthur Neve of Goring-by Sea died aged 37 years old, and was buried on 22 August 1932 in Goring by Sea. 

Dorothy married again in 1933, shortly after George's death. She had five children. She died in 1987 in Worthing. 

  • Margaret May Mitchell nee Neve

Margaret May Neve married Frederick Victor Mitchell on 1 December 1924 at St Peter's, Bexhill.  Frederick was a 27 year old salesman, son of Frederick Mitchell (deceased), builder. Margaret was 24 years old. The witnesses were Theresa Jane Neve, Bertha Blanche Connolly (see below) and Charles Arthur Neve.

In 1939 they were living in Collington Oak Road, Southampton where "F. Victor Mitchell" was a gents outfitter. They had one daughter

  • Joan Margaret Mitchell. Born 30 August 1935 in Southampton. 

Margaret May Neve died aged 73 years old in 1973 in Southampton. Frank died in 1977.

  • Theresa Jane Griggs nee Neve

Theresa Jane Neve married Brian Richard Griggs on 4 November 1928 in St Barnabas, Bexhill. Brian was 28 years old, a N.C.G Life Guards, son of Charles Frederick Griggs, manager. Theresa was 26 years old.  

They had at least one son

  • Geoffrey Griggs. Born 1931 in Amersham. 

In 1939 Theresa and her son are listed at Marycot, Worthing. It's not clear where Brian would have been. 

Brian Richard Griggs died on 22 December 1978 in Worthing and was buried in Durrington Cemetary. Theresa died in 1992 in Worthing

Edith Maria Morris nee Veness

Edith Maria Veness was born on 27 December 1873 and baptised on 22 February 1874 at Hooe Parish Church.

Again in 1881 and 1891 Edith Is living at home with her parents. As described above she appears as a shopkeeper in "Kelly's Directory" of 1899 for Hooe.  

On 25 December 1900 Edith Maria Veness, married Luthi Morris, a farmer aged 29, son of Thomas Morris, farmer at Hooe Parish Church. The witnesses were her siblings James William Veness and Bertha Blanche Veness. 

They married on the same day as Frederick Morley and Jane Barton (see Vol. III - Appendix F

Christmas Day weddings were not unusual, but usually occurred out of necessity as Christmas and Boxing Day were often the only days of the year that young working-class couples were guaranteed to get off work.

Luthi Morris had been born on 8 April 1871, the son of Thomas Morris and Elizabeth Noakes who had married on 26 December 1864 in Ninfield. Luthi was one of 10 children of which 9 survived (1911 census).    

The 1901 census shows Edith, aged 27 living with her husband Luther aged 29 a farmer, born Ninfield and Basil J Vitler, aged 14 a boarder, a labourer on farm, born Hooe, at Sadlers Farm, Hooe.

"The Bexhill Almanac" in 1901 show Miss Edith Veness as running a grocery and general stores at Victoria Villas. I assume this refers to 'our' Edith even though she was married by that time. Later years only refer to "Miss Veness", 

In 1911 Luther Morris, aged 39 and his 37 year old wife Edith Maria were farming at Billlingham Farm, Udimore, Rye. They had three children:

  • Edith Margaret E Morris. Born 1901. Margaret died as a child. Edith Margaret E Morris died in 1904, aged 3 years old. 
  • Luther Thomas James Morris. Born 3 January 1904 in Udimore, Sussex  Baptised 25 February 1917 in Udimore. 
  • Cecil Dudley Morris. Born 13 December 1907 in Udimore, Sussex. Baptised 25 February 1917 in Udimore. 

In 1921 Luther and Edith were still at Billingham Farm, Udimore, Rye. Luther, aged 50 was farming and his son Luther, aged 17 was assisting on the farm. Their son Cecil, aged 13 was still at school. visiting at the time was Harry Craik Smith, aged 58, an Inspector of weights and measures for the Corporation of Hastings, his wife and three children. 

In 1935/36 they were listed on electoral registers at Billingham Farm, Udimore, along with both of their sons and Cecil's wife Hilda May (see below

In 1939 Luther and Edith were living at Billingham, Battle, Sussex. Luther was a farmer and his son, his namesake was a farmer and agricultural contractor. 

In 1958/1959 Luther and Edith are shown on electoral register at Billingham Farm House, Rye. Their son Luther was still living with them. 

Luther Morris of Billingham Farm, Udimore died on 23 July 1960 at Rye and Winchelsea Memorial Hospital. Probate was granted to Luther Thomas James Morris and Cecil Dudley Morris, farmers. 

Edith Maria Morris died in 1962

The following is known about their surviving children:

  • Luther Thomas James Morris

In 1939 Luther and Edith's son Luther Thomas James Morris was still living at home with his parents at Billingham, Battle Road. He was a farmer and agricultural contractor. 

In 1958/59 Luther Thomas James Morris is on the electoral register at Billingham Farm House with his parents. 

Luther Thomas James Morris of 88, New Winchelsea Road, Rye died on 10 October 1988

  • Cecil Dudley Morris & Hilda May Clark

Luthi and Edith's son Cecil Dudley Morris married Hilda May Clark on 19 February 1928 in Udimore. Cecil was a 20 year old farmer. His wife Hilda was 22 years old, the daughter of Charles James Clark, hairdresser.

In 1935/1936 Cecil and Hilda were on electoral registers at Billingham Farm, Udimore, along with Cecil's parents and his sibling. 

In 1939 they were living at Highfield, Brede where Cecil was a farmer and agricultural contractor. They had three children, including

  • Edna Diana Morris. Born 1936 in Battle
  • Cecilie M Morris. Born 1939. 

in 1958/59 Cecil and Hilda are on electoral registers at Maidlands Farm, Brede, Neither child is listed. 

Cecil Dudley Morris of Maidlands Farm, Brede, Sussex died on 30 July 1964 at St Helens Hospital, Hastings. Probate was granted to Luther Thomas James Morris and Edna Diane Deacon, married woman. 

Hilda May Morris died in 1988.

Cecil and Edith's daughter Edith Diana Morris married Michael Harold Sutton Deacon in 1959 in Battle. In 1961 electoral registers show them at Billingham Farm House, Udimore. Michael died in 2007. Between at least 2011 and 2016 Edith was living at High Street, Etchingham.   

Cecil and Edith's daughter Cecilie M Morris married Christopher E Vavasour in 1963 in Battle. Cecilie died on 25 October 2018 in Ashford, Kent. 

Bertha Blanche Connolly nee Veness

Bertha Blanche Veness was baptised on 29 August 1875.

In 1901 Bertha Blanche Veness was still living at The Common. Hooe with her widowed mother who was running a butchers shop and general store. Her niece "Rebecca" (see above) was also at the address.  

Bertha Blanche Veness married Patrick Connolly on 28 July 1903 at the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary Magdalen, Bexhill. She moved to Boreham Street to set up home with Patrick who was a groom/driver for a local doctor. They are still there at the time the 1911 census was taken. The census shows Patrick, aged 32 had been born in Galway, Ireland. In 1901 Patrick had been boarding at Boreham Street with Edwin Dawes, house painter and his family. Edwin's son Bertram Dawes, aged 9, would later marry Muriel Green Taylor (Appendix N

Patrick and Blanche had three children:

  • Joseph Patrick Connolly. Born 2 July 1904 in Boreham
  • Harold Cecil Gregory Connolly. Born 24 August 1908 in Boreham
  • Bertha Kathleen Connolly. Born 26 August 1912

Also visiting them at the time that the census was taken was Bertha's niece, Rebina Ouida Snow Veness, who, aged 24, was a clerk in a registry office.

Bertha Blanche Connolly is pictured below with her two sons. 

Bertha Kathleen Connolly is pictured below as a child. 

Patrick and Bertha's son Harold Cecil Gregory Connolly died in 1913, aged just 4 years old. 

In 1921 they were living at High Hill, Mount Pleasant, Ninfield Road, Bexhill was the "manager of a farm" owned by A Joenshaw. his son Joseph, aged 16 was also working on the farm. Their nephew George Arthur Neve, a 26 year old "out of work" painter was also living with them (see above).  

In 1924 Bertha was a witness at her niece Margaret May Neve marriage at St Peter's, Bexhill (see above). 

It is understood that after the family moved to Bexhill, they lived in Wilton Road and had a livery stable in Sackville Road. Later Bertha had to have an operation, for which she had to go to London and it was then she died. The death of a Bertha Connolly has been located in St Pancras in 1931?

After Bertha's death, Bertha's eldest sister, who Prue knew as Miriam, but was called Polly, came to look after Bertha K Connolly and Joseph's eldest daughter Margaret (see below) who lived with them during the week. 

In 1939 Patrick Connolly, widower, is living at Thorn Farm, Ninfield Road, Bexhill where he is a farm worker. Living with him is Miriam Winpley, born 1 April 1864 (probably Bertha's sister - Mary Selina - see above) and Bertha K P Connolly, his daughter, a local government officer. 

NB - The 1939 register was used while National Registration was in force and it was a legal requirement to notify changes. This ended in 1952 but it had also been used by the NHS who continued to update the record until 1991 (hence name changes for events after 1939)!

It is not known what became of Patrick (pictured below) after that date. 

  • Joseph Patrick Connolly & Dorothy Marion Swaddling & Margaret Ann Wood

As a teenager Patrick and Bertha's son Joseph Patrick Connolly had wanted to be a journalist, but this was not allowed and his life was to revolve around horses. In 1921 he was working on his father's farm.  

In 1922, at the age of 17 he married Dorothy Marion Swaddling. He obtained a job on the Normanhurst Estate ( which at that time was a school for young ladies) as the riding master teaching the girls to ride and also army officers to ride. "Joe" and Dorothy had accommodation over the stables. Whilst they lived there they had 3 children

  • Margaret Kathleen Connolly. Born 21 July 1922
  • Josephine Dorethea Connolly. Born 4 August 1924, 
  • Patrick Connolly. Born 2 January 1928.

They lived there until Dorothy left them all. Joseph presumably lost his job as in those days it would have been a terrible scandal. He had custody of the children. Margaret stayed where she was weekly in Bexhill with Aunt Polly, Josephine and Patrick were farmed out to different people.

At some point Joseph got a divorce and married Margaret Ann Wood (known as Peg) in 1934 in Battle. "Joe" then got a job at the Beauport Hotel which is at the back of Hastings, he then brought Josephine and Patrick to live with them. Its not known when they left there but by 1939 Joseph and Margaret were living at 1 Woodlands, Ninfield Road, Bexhill. Joseph was a horseman on a farm. Their daughter Josephine and son Patrick were living with them. 

During World War II, both Joseph and his father were in the home guard in Sidley, later on in the war he was called up and was a driver to an officer. 

Joseph and "Peg" had a daughter  

  • Judith Patricia Connolly. Born 10 June 1944 in Battle. 

After the war they moved to Kent and ran a pub, the Gate Inn, Marshside, Chislet. Joseph was very involved with the local hunt and pony club. "Judy" was the only one of his children that he taught to ride and she became very accomplished and could have gone very far but gave it all up upon her marriage.

Joseph P Connolly died, aged 60, in November 1964 in Canterbury (Reg Gen Dec 1964 Canterbury 5b 275). .

Margaret Anne Connolly "Peg" of 46, Island Road, Upstreet, Canterbury died on 19 January 1989 in Canterbury (Reg Gen January 1989 Canterbury 16 307). 

Joseph and Dorothy's daughter Margaret Kathleen Connolly was born on the Normanhurst Estate Catsfield, but when she got to school age she would live with her grandparents Patrick and Bertha Connolly in Wilton Road so she could attend the Roman Catholic school. When her mother left she lived permanently with what was by then her widowed grandfather Patrick (see above), his daughter Bertha K and "Aunt Polly". When Margaret was a teenager she moved to London to live with her mother Dorothy and her second husband Kenneth Sealey, where she worked in a hairdressers until the war when she and her sister Josephine worked worked in a factory. It is not clear where Margaret was when the 1939 register was taken. She is not listed with her father (see above) and neither does she appear to be with Kenneth and Dorothy who are living at 35, Eardley Crescent, Kensington.

After the war Margaret and her then husband John Walter Day (who she married in 1949 in Hammersmith), moved to Wales. They bought a small holding in Llangranog Dyfed, they never told anybody about and just left. It was not until a cousin on her maternal side whilst on holiday saw her on a motor bike going by and asked the garage man if he knew her, which he did and said that she was their hairdresser on her rounds. Consequently a family friend drove her mother down there to see her. She had 2 children, a boy and a girl in the 1960's and she had 3 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.  Margaret lived on her small holding until her death, whilst her children were still at home,  she did summer lets and later she would rent out her bungalow in the summer and move in to a mobile home in one of the fields and this she did until her passing. She was president of her local WI and was on County. She was very well known in her community. In later life she would make a trip back to Bexhill most years. John Walter Day of Arforwest, Llangranog died on 9 December 1988. Margaret died on 1 April 2016, aged 93 years. 

Joseph and Dorothy's daughter Josephine Dorethea Connolly  or "Josey" or "JoJo" as she was known was born on the Normanhurst Estate. She went to the local school in Catsfield until her mother left. She was then placed with complete strangers to her several times, then with her "stepmother to be" where her father was staying at 14 Wilton Road Bexhill. She was then taken to a convent school in Rye, not told where she was going or for how long. On weekends her maternal great Aunt Edith Morris (see above) would collect her and take her back to her home Billingham Farm. She was there until her father remarried (in 1934) and went to live with him and Peg at the stables at The Beauport Hotel. She was with her father when the 1939 register was taken (see above) and although only 15 is described as a "gardener". When Josephine left school she went to live with her mother in London, at age 17 she enlisted into the WAAFs she learnt to drive and drove lorries until she fell pregnant and was discharged. She returned to her mother and had the baby girl, Dorethea Margaret Connolly (Born 28 September 1943) Josephine later met and married Raymond Alfred Halls (in 1945 in Hammersmith)Unbeknown to them her mother and step father had applied to adopt Dorethea (known as Thea). This went ahead. Later on they went on to have a baby girl Susan Loretta Halls and then moved to Bexhill when they had another daughter Prudence Anne Halls (who has provided much of the highlighted information). In time they were able to buy 14 Wilton Road. Josephine ran it as a B&B, guest house. Raymond was an electrician and started his own business. Josephine then started another business collecting school girls trunks during the holidays storing cleaning and mending the contents. They were able to buy more properties. They divorced in 1972. Josephine remarried William Charles E Prentice in 1972. He died in 1973. A few years later she started the Bexhill Spiritualist Guild. She was an active healer until her death on 4 May 2007.  

Joseph and Dorothy's son Patrick Connolly was born on the Normanhurst Estate Catsfield and lived there until his mother left, he also was left with strangers until his father was able to provide a home for him at Beauport. He was extremely accident prone all his life he had more than used up his nine lives. When he was a baby he pulled a a teapot over himself badly burning himself he had the scars on his chest all his life. As a child whilst up in a hayloft Josephine told him to jump and she would catch him, he took so long that she walked away as he decided to jump and broke his leg. As a teenager he went into the back of a lorry, landed on the roof, had a motorbike and wrote that off and too many others to mention. He got TB as a child and had to be hospitalised for many months. He trained as a teenager as a blacksmith. After the the war was called up for national service in the RAF and was posted to Hong Kong. The rest of his working life was as a maintenance engineer. He had a relationship with a lady and they had a son he was born in the 1950's. He later married but that ended in divorce but undeterred he married again which was a much happier marriage. Patrick died on 30 April 2009. 

Joseph and "Peg"s  daughter Judith Connolly lived for most of her childhood at the Gate Inn Marshside in Kent with her parents. Her father taught her to ride and she was a very accomplished equestrian as a teenager, she went to Canada to train. However she decided she did not want to take it any further. Judith married to William "Gordon" Gillie Laing in 1968 in Bridge, Kent. Gordon was a kennel man. They moved to Crawley to the Harrier kennels where Judith lived until her death. She and Gordon had a son in the 1970's.  Judith Patricia Laing died in 1998, aged just 54 years old. Gordon died very suddenly on 12 November 2000, aged 66 and just after he retired.

  • Bertha Kathleen Connolly 

Patrick and Bertha's daughter Bertha Kathleen Connolly was born when her parents resided in Boreham Street, 

In 1939 she was living with her widowed father at Thorn Farm, Ninfield, Bexhill. 

Bertha married Geoffrey C Westbrook in 1942 in Battle.

Bertha later emigrated to Australia where she had two children. She lived in the Sidney suburbs for many years but in the late 1970's she and her daughter moved up the coast and owned and ran a store - post office/ petrol/take away. They sold this in 1980 and bought a card/ballet shop. Then they moved to Brisbane where Bertha lived until her death.

Click here to go to "Chapter 12 - James Veness and Charlotte Edith Pocock".

To find out more about the Cornford family, click here to go to "Appendix D - Cornford"

Click here to go back to "Chapter 5 - James Veness and Selina Honeysett".